Can you explain the Baha’i prophecies in this website


I have looked at these "prophecies" of Baha-ullah. To be honest, I am not all that impressed. For example, he predicted in the 1860s that the Ottoman Empire would fall apart. The reason this is not all that impressive is that by the 1860s the Ottoman Empire had been decaying for well over two hundred years, gradually losing territory, becoming incredibly corrupt. Anyone who knew world politics in the last third of the 19th century could see the writing on the wall. This empire was well on the way out. It was being beaten on every level by the French, German and British empires. I think we should call this a prediction rather than a prophecy, but a prediction which many or most at the time would have made.

Compare this to biblical prophecies such as that in Isaiah 39:5-8. Here God prophesies through Isaiah that the king of Babylon would take the direct descendents of Hezekiah captive, carrying them off to Bablyon, making them eunuch. The reason this prophecy is in a totally different league is that when the prophecy was made, Babylon was completely powerless politically. It was completely dominated and had been so by Assyria for over two hundred years. Nevertheless, one hundred and thirty years later, the prophecy was fulfilled in detail. Babylon defeated Assyria and attacked Jerusalem.  The articles in the temple were carried off to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar and the direct descendents of the king (specifically, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) were carried off to Babylon and made eunuchs in the king’s palace. This is exactly what was predicted by Isaiah.  It is much more specific than the prediction of Baha-ullah.  Predicting a very specific and seemingly very unlikely thing well over a hundred years beforehand is evidence of an inspired prophecy. Predicting that a decaying and corrupt dynasty would fall within one or two generations is not strong evidence for inspiration. I will say this, however, Baha-ullah was right. If he got a few dozen such predictions correct, that would create a decent case for more than simple common political insight.

Baha-ullah also predicted the demise of one sultan, Abdul-Aziz and a vizier (Ali Pasha) of the Ottomans. He predicted that Abdul-Aziz would lose his power in 1868. He did so in 1876–eight years later. Given that all Ottoman sultans lost their power at one time or another, a prediction that one would lose his power, which was fulfilled eight years later is kind of like predicting that a particular politician will leave office at some future date, and to have it actually happen eight years later. This does not rise to the level of being a "prophecy" which is evidence of inspiration. He also predicted that Ali Pasha would lose his place as vizier. It just so happens that this particular person was put in and taken out of the position of vizier five times, including four times before Baha-ullah made this prediction. Again, I see no evidence of miraculous predictive power here.

Then, the article says that Baha-ullah predicted the battle of Armageddon, as prophesied in Revelation Chapter 16. This person claims that when World War I broke out, this was the battle of Armageddon. I am sorry, but anyone who knows much at all about the book of Revelation will know that World War I is absolutely NOT a fulfillment of Revelation 16. In the first three predictions mentioned above, one can argue that, even if these predictions were not in the least bit surprising, at least the predictions came true. In this case (the prediction that Armageddon would happen soon) is not even a correct prediction. This would be a false prophecy.

Here is a typical "prophecy" of Baha-ullah (quoting from this article): "The Balkans will remain discontented. Its restlessness will increase. The vanquished Powers will continue to agitate. They will resort to every measure that may rekindle the flame of war." Anyone who knows the politics of the Balkans will recognize immediately that making the prediction is a bit like predicting that a fight will break out during a hockey game.

Two more predictions mentioned in the article are relevant to science: "Strange and astonishing things exist in the earth but they are hidden from the minds and the understanding of men. These things are capable of changing the whole atmosphere of the earth and their contamination would prove lethal." (Bahá’u’lláh, Kalímát-i-Firdawsíyyih (Words of Paradise), c.1879–91)

"Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute."

Making the prediction in the late 1800’s that science would make great progress, which will also bring about environmental destruction is kind of like predicting in 2011 that science will make great progress, which will bring about environmental destruction. I believe that this is common knowledge.

Then there is the second one. It was commonly believed in the 1900s that other planets in our solar system had life on them. Apparently, Baha-ullah believed this as well. We can see that his predictive powers here are quite dismal. Indeed, we have clear proof that his sayings are NOT inspired by God.

I have covered about one half of the "prophecies" of Baha-ullah in the article. The others are more or less like the ones I have discussed. In general, these are either extremely vague and applicable to any place and any time, or if they are more specific, they are highly probably events, which any astute political prognosticator could make as well. Then there are the two predictions I discussed which are clearly simply not even true. If we compare this to prophecies in the Bible, such as the fact that the Messiah would be crucified (Psalms 22), made 1000 years before it happened, at a time when crucifixion had not even been invented, or the predicting that the Messiah would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11), there is no comparison. If this is the kind of evidence supporting the inspiration of Baha-ullah, then we should probably discount the claim entirely.

John Oakes

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